My first threshold for a candidate is their governing principles and philosophy; how they see the world.  The last thing I want is a leader effective at getting things done when I am opposed to everything he wants to do.

The second threshold is character. If they cannot be trusted to do what they say then having the correct view of the world and how it works will be worth little.

The third threshold is their prioritization of the major issues.  My priorities are national security, economics, and then social issues.  Economics becomes more important when we feel safe and social issues take priority when the economy is prospering. The early progressive era took root when we were unthreatened and the economy was expanding. The same is true during the civil rights era of the 1960’s.

The fourth threshold is competence.  The top job requires diplomacy and clarity; there are a lot of skill sets that will be called upon. Experience is important in knowing how the world works and in knowing how to get government to act. Generally I do not like candidates running for the top job with no previous political experience, but executive responsibility and accountability in positions of significance may be a fair substitute.

The fifth threshold is wisdom. This is not synonymous with age and experience.  It is a mixture of experience, respect for others, reflection, introspection, humility, an open mind, study and clarity.

If I ignore the polls and the fund raising status and just apply the above thresholds, my top two choices are Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio.  They would be an awesome ticket.